Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Reports: Comcast Prepping Bid For 21st Century Fox

Cable giant Comcast Corp. is getting the pieces in place to make a hostile bid for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets should it choose to do so, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the situation.

Fox agreed in December to sell the assets in question to Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion in stock.

Comcast is considering making a play to break up that deal, and has lined up around $60 billion in financing to make an all-cash offer for the Fox assets, the people say.

Comcast hasn’t yet decided whether to proceed with a hostile bid. One pivotal factor is the outcome of the government’s lawsuit to stop the pending merger of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. If the companies are successful and their deal survives, Comcast would be emboldened to pursue the Fox assets, the people said.

Arguments in the antitrust case against the deal concluded last week, with the judge saying he would announce his ruling on June 12.

The assets Comcast and Disney are seeking to purchase include the Twentieth Century Fox TV and film studio, cable networks and international properties including Fox’s 39% stake in European pay TV operator Sky PLC.

Separately, on another track, Comcast and Fox are each vying for full control of Sky and have lobbed in bids. Comcast is securing financing from banks that would allow it to pursue a bid for the Fox entertainment assets and consolidate 100% ownership of Sky, the people familiar with the situation said.

Reuters is reporting Comcast Corp is asking investment banks to increase a bridge financing facility by as much as $60 billion so it can make an all-cash offer.  The exact value of Comcast’s new bid for the Fox assets is not yet clear, although the $60 billion in new financing indicates it is seeking significant firepower to outbid Disney. Comcast already has a $30 billion bridge loan to finance its Sky offer.

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